Originally published October 30 2013
Police department to post pictures of Walmart EBT thieves who ransacked stores during EBT glitch
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) By now, millions of Americans have heard the story about how scores of people on food stamps attempted to rob a local Walmart blind when yet another government computer "glitch" wiped out the balances on their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, effectively giving them limitless purchasing ability.
Well, before many of the these rip-off artists were able to leave the store with their overstuffed baskets of food and goods, the glitch corrected itself, and the cardholders' true balances were restored.
Many of course had next to nothing left on their cards, yet there they were at the store trying to game the system - and the hapless taxpayer - by getting away with stealing hundreds of dollars' worth of stuff. When the balances were restored, dozens abandoned their heaping carts in the aisles and made for the exits before anyone could have them arrested for attempted robbery.
Others, however, managed to get away with their ill-gotten booty - or, at least, they thought they had. Now, the local police department where the targeted Walmart store is located - Many, La. - is posting photos of those thieves who got away online.
MPD is very active in the investigation of thefts
According to local TV affiliate KSLA:
In addition to the mega-retailer's Springhill and Mansfield locations in Louisiana, the store in Many saw customers filling up carts with goods paid for on EBT cards that weren't showing limits. The glitch only lasted for about 2 hours on the night of October 12, but it was long enough to create chaos in stores that opted not to set an emergency limit for the EBT SNAP card holders.
According to the Many Police Department Facebook Page, "The MPD is still very active in the investigation of thefts that took place on Saturday October 12th at Wal-Mart involving losses because of malfunctioning EBT Card transactions and other thefts where customers simply left the store without paying for items."
So, Walmart may have elected not to prosecute these thieves, but the MPD has rightfully taken a dim view of the thefts and plans to do something about it.
Retired Police Chief Dean Lambert, who operates the Many Police Department Facebook page, said officers were called to the store around 8 p.m. on the night of the glitch, after an assistant store manager reported that people were trying to leave the store without paying for groceries after the EBT system went down.
At least one man made it out of the store, according to witnesses, without paying for an entire cart full of groceries. He slipped out through the garden center, police were told. He has yet to be identified.
'Those who loaded up could face charges'
When officers arrived at the Many store, they reported finding carts full of food that were abandoned in the aisles, just like at stores in Springhill and Mansfield. Though that itself is not a crime, KSLA said, leaving the store with things you have not paid for most certainly is.
"Those who loaded up on temporarily unlimited SNAP cards could face charges," but such cases "might be more difficult to prosecute, because the intent to defraud would have to be proven. Since the store allowed purchases on the EBT without setting a limit during the glitch, that could prove difficult," the station reported.
In a recent post, the MPD's Facebook page said, "We hope to have photos of many of these shoppers on our webpage before the end of the week so they can be identified."
Cops and store officials have said that some of the shoppers, honorably, have owned up and paid for what they took, so their photos won't be posted online. But for any who have not, the MPD is moving forward with plans to attempt to identify anyone who was seen leaving the store without paying on video but has yet to come forward on their own.
"We are working closely with Walmart and are awaiting enhanced photos of the suspects," said the MPD Facebook page.
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